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China wants to fix ‘serious difficulties’ with Canada by meeting halfway: envoy

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OTTAWA — China’s ambassador to Canada says his government wants to end the countries’ impasse but won’t give way on two of Canada’s major complaints.

“Indeed, the bilateral relations between China and Canada are facing serious difficulties right now,” Lu Shaye said Tuesday at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa, in an interview through an interpreter. “The Chinese side is not responsible for this issue. But the Chinese government is waiting to make a joint effort with the Canadian side and meet each other halfway.”

When asked about the possibility of freeing two Canadians detained in China on espionage charges, however, Lu offered little wiggle room. And on China’s blocking Canadian canola imports, he considers the matter closed.

Canada’s relationship with Beijing has deteriorated rapidly since the December arrest of a Chinese telecom giant’s chief financial officer in Vancouver. The arrest of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou was carried out after an extradition request by the United States.

Meng’s arrest has outraged Beijing and Chinese authorities have demanded her release. Since Meng’s arrest, China has detained two Canadians on allegations of endangering the country’s national security, sentenced two Canadians to death for drug-related convictions and rejected important agricultural shipments.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has sought international support in condemning China’s decision to, in his word, “arbitrarily” arrest Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave, and businessman Michael Spavor.

Last week on a visit to Ottawa, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence linked the liberation of the two imprisoned Canadians to American trade talks with China.

The offer is significant because the Chinese government has rebuffed requests from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to speak with her counterpart.

Pence said U.S. President Donald Trump would push Chinese President Xi Jinping on Kovrig and Spavor at the G20 leaders’ summit later this month. Trudeau is also expected to travel to Japan for that summit.

The ambassador said he did not know if Xi and Trudeau plan to meet at the G20.

When it comes to Kovrig and Spavor, he said “the relevant departments of China will investigate the case, follow the Chinese laws, international practice and the consular agreement between China and Canada, and provide relevant treatment to them.”

Lu spoke at length about China’s trade war with the U.S., which has rattled international markets and poses a threat to the global economy. He listed numerous examples of how he said the American side has backtracked during bilateral negotiations that began over a year ago.

The decline of Canada-China relations has also led to some direct economic consequences for Canadian businesses.

China has been a huge market for Canadian canola seed, which is crushed to make cooking oil. The country imported $2.7 billion worth of Canadian canola seed last year, and any drawn-out blockage will hurt farmers, the industry and the national economy.

China has stonewalled requests for Canadian experts to examine Chinese evidence that two canola-seed shipments contained pests.

Lu said Chinese officials investigated the Canadian canola “based on regulations and science principles.”

“The Chinese side provided concrete documents about the investigation,” he said. “The relevant Chinese departments maintain no more contact with their Canadian counterparts. The documents have already been provided.”

In an interview last week, International Trade Minister Jim Carr said Canada wants to engage with China on the canola issue. In the meantime, Carr said, Canada had been trying to increase canola sales in other markets such as Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates.

Also on Tuesday, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said China has stepped up inspections of Canadian pork products on the grounds that it’s concerned about smuggling and African swine fever — an illness that can be devastating among pigs. That’s in addition to previously stated Chinese concerns about the labelling of Canadian pork.

“We are working with producers and industry to underscore the importance of heightened quality assurance efforts to ensure there are no trade disruptions due to administrative errors,” Bibeau said in a statement.

The Trudeau government has come under pressure to follow the American lead and ban Huawei from supplying equipment for Canada’s next-generation 5G wireless networks. Pence raised the matter with Trudeau last week in front of reporters.

He argued letting Huawei participate would be against American security interests. Trudeau replied by reiterating that Canadian government would rely on evidence from its own security agencies before making a decision.

Huawei has denied allegations that its digital communications equipment is a tool of Chinese state espionage. Lu echoed that position Tuesday.

Lu was asked for his thoughts on the possibility of working with a Canadian government led by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who recently promised to take a harder line with China if he wins October’s federal election. The envoy said he would not comment on Canada’s domestic matters and said his country is willing to build relations with all political parties.

The case of Meng, the telecom giant’s senior executive, will return to a Vancouver courtroom on Thursday. It has drawn interest from around the world.

A statement from Canada’s Justice Department said Tuesday that the purpose of the proceeding is to address additional applications in Meng’s extradition case and to set future court dates.

The new dates will not be for the actual extradition hearing, which has yet to be scheduled, and Meng is not expected to attend Thursday’s proceeding in person, the statement says.

The U.S. Department of Justice laid 13 criminal charges, including conspiracy, fraud and obstruction, against Huawei and Meng, who is the daughter of the company’s founder.

—With files from Aleksandra Sagan

Andy Blatchford and Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

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COVID-19

RCMP members taking a stand against “mandatory” vaccination

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RCMP members facing the loss of their jobs over mandatory vaccination are reaching out to their Commissioner and asking for the support of Canadians.

In an extensive and detailed Open Letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Luck, the officers say they cannot “willingly participate in enforcing mandates” they don’t believe in.

RCMP members opposed to vaccine mandates have formed an organization called Mounties For Freedom.  Members of the RCMP are among the thousands of federal public servants who feel threatened by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement that “There will be consequences” for those who choose not to be vaccinated.

The open letter (below) to Commissioner Lucki sets out a series of arguments culminating in a joint statement against “the discrimination faced by those who have exercised their right to bodily autonomy.”


Open Letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki

RCMP National Headquarters
73 Leikin Dr
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0R2

October 21, 2021

Dear Commissioner Brenda Lucki:

We respectfully submit this open letter to express our most sincere concerns and resolute stand against the forced coercive medical intervention of Canadians, and against the undue discrimination experienced by those exercising their lawful right to bodily autonomy. We are not against vaccinations, but as law enforcement officers, we cannot in good conscience willingly participate in enforcing mandates that we believe go against the best interests of the people we protect.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

As Canadians, our constitutionally-protected freedoms precede the government, and may only be temporarily limited if the majority of evidence justifies such infringements as reasonable, provable, and guided by law. If presented with all available evidence in a court, we firmly believe the government implemented mandates would not hold up under scrutiny.
As experienced investigators, we look past what information is provided and focus on how the information is presented. A proper investigation should be conducted as objectively as possible, and follow the principle that it is better to have questions that cannot be answered than to have answers that cannot be questioned. A complete investigation must include full disclosure of all the facts of the case, even contradictory evidence. Why, then, is there little to no tolerance for free and open debate on this matter? Many credible medical and scientific experts are being censored. Accordingly, we rightly have concerns about “the science” we are being coerced to “follow”.
As representatives of our communities within the RCMP and representatives of the RCMP in our communities, we have never witnessed such division in our country. This sense of “Us versus Them” will be further fueled by having a police force consisting only of “vaccinated” people, while serving communities consisting of “unvaccinated” people, which goes against the community policing model the RCMP has strived to achieve.
As law enforcement officers, we already face higher levels of stress and mental illnesses due to the nature of our work. These have been compounded – considerably – by mandates that we believe are deeply unethical, threatening our livelihood, and dividing society.
As federal employees, what is being done to mitigate this stress? Moreover, what assurances are we given that the injections will not cause short or long-term side effects? What steps will be taken to ensure members are compensated for adverse side effects?
Police officers are expected to preserve the peace, uphold the law, and defend the public interest. We strongly believe that forced and coerced medical treatments undermine all three and, thus, contradict our duties and responsibilities to Canadians. We remain loyal to the Charter and Bill of Rights and ask you to send investigators to collect statements from medical professionals (and other reliable witnesses) who allege they have been silenced – putting lives at risk. Allow us to make this information publicly available to all so the public can scrutinize it and achieve informed consent.

ABOUT US

This letter was created from the collective thoughts, beliefs, and opinions of actively serving police officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) from across the country. We have a wealth of experience which includes, but is not limited to, General Duty, Federal Serious and Organized Crime, School Liaison, Prime Minister Protection Detail, Emergency Response Team, Media Relations, and Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit. We come from various ranks, levels of experience, communities, cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, and vaccination statuses. Together we are the Mounties for Freedom. We are individual police officers who united in the belief that citizens, including federal employees, should not be forced and coerced into taking a medical intervention.

OUR STANCE

In August 2021, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced, “Federal public servants need to be fully vaccinated,” and that for those without a medical exemption who choose not to be vaccinated: “There will be consequences”1.
Since that statement, many federal employees have been told they will be sent home without pay for refusing to receive a contested medical treatment. We have united in the belief that people should not be forced or coerced into receiving the current COVID-19 treatments – it should be voluntary. We stand united against the forced and coerced medical intervention of Canadians and against the discrimination faced by those who have exercised their right to bodily autonomy. We believe in democracy, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the Bill of Rights.
This is not about whether people should be vaccinated – that is a personal choice.
———-
In an extensive podcast interview with David Whitehead, Mounties For Freedom spokesman Corporal Daniel Bulford points out several issues with vaccine mandates. Corporal Bulford (who ironically is a member of the Ottawa based detail in charge of protecting the Prime Minister) is particularly upset with  Canada’s health authorities for not allowing treatments such as Ivermectin which have been successfully and extensively tested in other parts of the world.
Over 40,000 supporters have signed up in support of the Open Letter to RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki.
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Alberta

Prominent Alberta Conservative Voice Explains: Why I am voting Yes to End Equalization…

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From Danielle Smith

To me, equalization, the health transfer and the social transfer combined, are a measure of how much the federal government is overtaxing us. The Constitution has a very limited role for the federal government. The federal government likes to use its spending power to meddle in areas that aren’t its jurisdiction. My view is this – if you want to pass policy for health care, long term care, drug plans, day care, welfare – then RUN FOR PROVINCIAL OFFICE. Don’t take money from the provinces, launder it through the federal bureaucracy and then divvy it up unfairly to give back more money to the provinces that you think will vote for you. (Yep – that’s how I see it.)

So let’s analyze the numbers a bit shall we? I have three tables to show you that tell the whole story.

The level of overtaxation (on these three programs alone) is easily quantified. In the 2021-22 fiscal year it will be $83.890 billion. In just 10 years, the federal overtaxation has grown from $60.085 billion – that’s a 40 per cent increase.

Per person Ottawa transfers an average of $2,181. But of course we know, because of equalization, some provinces are more equal than others.

Take a look at Alberta. Our transfers have grown from $3.661 billion to $6.835 billion in the same period, or from $946 per person to $1,523 per person.

Now take a look at Quebec. Their transfers have grown from $17.329 to $26.306 in the same 10 year period, or $2,148 per person to $3,039 per person.

How would an equal per capital model impact the other provinces?…

In my column, I said we should eliminate equalization and instead do equal per person transfers to every province. If we did that, Alberta would receive $9.788 billion this year, a difference of $2.953 billion more. Alberta isn’t the only one getting hosed. Look at the final line in the table below. So are BC and Ontario. Saskatchewan is shortchanged $781 million, and poor Newfoundland and Labrador, which in on the brink of bankruptcy but still doesn’t qualify for equalization, would get $343 million more.  If we eliminated equalization and gave everyone the same per person amount, Quebec would receive $18.879 billion or $7.427 billion less than is expected this year. As it should be. Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador should not be subsidizing Quebec.

There are a couple of things I really like about a per person transfer model.

  1. It encourages provinces to compete to attract people, because the more people you attract the more dollars you attract.

I understand the Fairness Alberta argument about changing equalization. They suggest a markup to market on the electricity price that hydro rich provinces charge, they want to stop growing equalization with GDP growth, and they want to account for the different cost of services in each province. But in the end, if we create a program that rewards provinces only for attracting people then they have to implement policies that attract people. Like having low rates of taxation, making it easier to start a business, having affordable housing, and so on. There is a lot that is in the power of government. But if we keep giving provinces more money as they adopt policies that reduce their attractiveness it is counterproductive.

  1. A per person model is going to give a greater benefit to smaller provinces with lower costs of services than larger provinces with a larger cost of service.

Even if making Alberta pay more is the objective of Ottawa, an equal per capita transfer amount still has Alberta paying disproportionately into the pot. Alberta has higher wages, higher workforce participation rates, higher spending so we will stay pay more in personal and corporate income taxes, GST, fuel tax, EI, CPP and other federal taxes, than we receive back in per person federal transfers. This won’t eliminate the net payer status we have; but it will get us on our way to narrowing the gap.

  1. Once we have established  a single per person transfer that is the same across the country we can move to the next step, which is convert the cash transfer into tax points instead.

If Alberta was getting its proper share of transfers – $9.79 billion – we could then move to the next stage of negotiation with Ottawa. Which is to convert the cash to tax points instead. I’ll leave it to the accountants to figure out the precise numbers, but conceptually let’s say it would mean reducing the federal income tax by 5 percentage points across all categories and increasing provincial income tax by 5 percentage points across all categories. The reason to do that is this, as Alberta grows so would it’s share of own-source revenues. Rather than have Ottawa continue to capitalize on our growth, we would.

  1. Once we have fixed the problems with federal provincial transfers, we can move on to fix CPP and EI next.

Alberta pays disproportionately into CPP and EI too – we pay roughly 30 per cent of the premiums for CPP and only get back about 10 per cent of the spending. I haven’t done the calculation on EI but I suspect it’s even worse. If we can stop the overtaxation on income tax, these two programs should be next.

Enough is enough…

For too long we have just accepted that this is the way the country works. I think we’ve been bullied into thinking that paying disproportionately into Confederation was our penance for the federal government cancelling the National Energy Program. It’s almost as if we collectively felt that if only we paid off central Canada, they wouldn’t come after our resource wealth again. How wrong we were. Now Quebec is so bloody minded they don’t care if they hurt themselves by killing off our energy industry.

That’s fine. If they don’t want the revenues that come from our energy resources, we should be happy to keep it for ourselves. Let’s start to show them we are serious by strongly voting yes to end equalization on October 18.

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